Conversations, and particularly phone calls, continue to be among the most effective methods for connecting with people and turning them into loyal customers. Smartphones have closed the gap between browsing online and making calls — and when it comes to complex, high-value purchases, people want to get on the phone and speak with a human. Today, technology is available to add insight into these calls, so marketers can make the same smart, data-driven decisions about calls that they make for digital channels.
At BoomTown, we’ve invested heavily in call intelligence technology. We are a sales and marketing software company that helps real estate companies close more deals. Given our solution is at a five-digit price point, our customers simply aren’t going to make a purchase — or even commit to a demo — before they get on the phone with a sales rep. As a result, our phones are ringing all the time.
Partly, that’s the nature of our business. Real Estate folks like to talk — they’re skilled conversationalists, and they love to do business over the phone. But it’s also the nature of business today: people are searching, browsing and calling from their phones as they move along the path to purchase. It’s vital that our marketing team has the insight to track, analyze and optimize for these inbound calls, and that our sales team is equipped to answer calls that are likely to convert.
We invested in Invoca’s Voice Marketing Cloud to add a layer of insight around the channel our sales team uses most. This additional data allows our marketing and sales teams to work more effectively together — our reps can take more calls and derive more value from each, and our marketing team can attribute our campaigns to leads that convert over the phone.
Just by turning on Invoca, we immediately cut our cost per lead (CPL) in half. This is because we were able to attribute all of our phone leads to the various digital campaigns a prospect or customer interacted with before calling us. We’ve learned that nobody calls and explains the details of how they heard about us — we can see that they searched for a term, clicked on a link, did some research, talked to a few friends about options, and made a phone call. For this intricate path to purchase, they might tell our sales rep they heard of us through “word-of-mouth.”
I believe call intelligence is a must for business today, and there are some things I’ve learned that can help other marketers get started with this relatively new marketing technology.
Getting started with call intelligence
There are a few things to look for when evaluating call intelligence providers. The first is dynamic number insertion. Dynamic number insertion allows you to replace a static company phone number on a marketing asset — a landing page, eBook or the pricing page of a website, for example — with a unique number that ties back to the source of each call. That means you can see granular data such as the keyword a caller searched, the ad they clicked on, and the pages of your website they browsed before picking up the phone.
Using Invoca, a sales rep can see all of this information the moment the phone rings. They also have other valuable data points, such as a caller’s income, purchase history and demographics, which gives them a picture of the person on the other end of the line. I recommend using this information to route the caller to the appropriate representative in real-time — existing customers or VIP prospects to your best sales rep, for example.
It’s important to use a platform that integrates well with your existing marketing and sales technology stack. We use Invoca’s Facebook integration for insight into the effectiveness of our social ad campaigns; this lets us know which of our callers were influenced by ads on Facebook along their journey. This is especially beneficial now that we have click-to-call ads right in our Facebook Brand Page and in our Facebook advertisements.
The Salesforce integration allows us to tap into our customer data and build a lead profile for each caller. Our reps can see where the call came from, who’s on the line and any past interactions they’ve had with our company. This removes a lot of the stop and start aspect of initial calls; sales reps can simply confirm the details they already have.
Shorter calls keep prospects happy and show we value their time. This has also freed up time for our reps — our sales team takes about 1,500 calls a month, and this technology has cut the duration of those calls by up to 1.5 to 2.5 minutes each. This has freed up hours each month that reps can spend generating more business.
You also want a platform that allows you to analyze the content of the conversations that takes place over the phone to influence future nurture campaigns — or in some cases, use that content so you don’t nurture customers who’ve already purchased over the phone. This can feel tone deaf to consumers who increasingly expect companies to provide personalized service across channels.
Setting Yourself Up for Success
We can now see where our calls are coming from, who’s on the line and the context of the call. To make a system like this work, I’d recommend taking some basic steps to get more insight into inbound calls:
- Promote phone numbers through your home page, pricing page and every marketing channel you have — social, search, white papers, webinars, company events, even podcasts. Make it easy for people to call you.
- Invest in click-to-call ads on your social and search ads, so people searching or browsing on mobile can push a button and call you directly.
- Use dynamic phone numbers for each asset, that way you can always see where calls are coming from. It’s essential for improving marketing ROI.
- Start to think about calls as you would your digital assets — and demand the same level of visibility into what’s working and what isn’t.
We learned a lot along the way and found some of our assumptions to be incorrect. At first, we expected call intelligence to increase our total number of leads. This wasn’t the case — but having more insight into our callers and the campaigns that influenced their behavior turned out to be much more valuable. We’ve filled a crucial gap in our marketing tech stack, optimized for high-value calls that lead to more conversions, and created the best possible experience for people who choose to call us.